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Mr Mooney hailed Scotland as being at the forefront of more "fit-for-purpose" legislation surrounding alcohol licensing and availability, including health as a licensing objective.

He said: "Minimum Unit Pricing has been a very complex and costly measure to introduce".

"Opinion is divided still on how effective minimum unit pricing will be", she said.

From Tuesday, retailers must charge at least 50 pence (68 cents) per unit, amounting to about 70 pence for a bottle of beer or 5 pounds for a bottle of wine.

- Just how serious is Scotland's relationship with the bottle?

John Mooney, senior lecturer in public health, has commented on similarities between parts of the country and the North East, as Scotland aims to cut alcohol deaths and hospital admissions, as well as slashing crime and reducing costs to the health service.

The law, which sets a floor price for drinks depending on how many units of alcohol they contain, was passed in 2012 but has faced legal challenges.

The Scottish government previously committed to a review of the policy after five years while a "sunset" provision, included in the relevant legislation, means that it will expire after six years unless renewed by a ministerial decision which receives the positive approval of the Scottish parliament.

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- What impact could MUP have on harm reduction? As with booze cruises to France, some will be doing it legally for their own consumption and others will be doing it to sell illegally in Scotland.

Chair of BMA Scotland Dr Peter Bennie said: "It has been a long road to reach this point, but I am delighted that the persistence of alcohol campaigners, with strong BMA support, has paid off and minimum unit pricing has finally taken effect".

- What are the arguments against MUP?

"This will save lives and reduce crime", Alison Douglas, CEO of the alcoholism prevention group Alcohol Focus Scotland, said.

The SWA, on the other hand, argued that MUP was illegal under European Union law and that it amounted to a "trade barrier" which "is a real concern for our industry".

In Northern Ireland the rate is 22.2, while England and Wales combined is 14.6 - around half the rate of Scotland.

Executive director Nick Leggett says doing the same thing here would only hurt the alcohol sector by putting off responsible drinkers. In addition, existing laws on under-age sales and sales to drunk people are not fully and effectively applied at the moment, it argues.


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